HAVANA – President Raul Castro is warning Cubans to prepare for tough economic conditions in 2016 despite the warming of relations with the United States.
He says low oil prices have damaged the outlook of an economy that depends on billions of dollars of subsidized oil and cash from Venezuela, which is undergoing political and financial turmoil.
According to state media, Castro told the country's National Assembly on Tuesday to expect 2 percent growth in gross domestic product next year, half the rate his government reported in 2015. He said that falling oil prices lowered the cost of imported goods but hurt the island's relationship of mutual aid with Venezuela. Cuba has sent thousands of doctors to Venezuela in recent years in exchange for oil and cash payments at highly beneficial rates.